If residents didn’t need even more of a reason to be inflamed with apathetic government, now the Newtown Creek cleanup saga enters a dicey new chapter. The city has suspended boating on Newtown Creek, citing the federal governments Superfund site designation.
This decision by local officials puts a huge crimp into the recreation which many stressed out urban dwellers are able to achieve on the polluted waterways. At the same time, other city agencies are beginning to take a look at how to expand public access to Newtown Creek.
The obvious hypocrisy has everyone crying foul. Head of the Newtown Creek Alliance Kathleen Schmid was quoted saying, “No kayaker has been hurt or gotten sick after years of use of the public waterways.” The city, argues Schmid, “have known the state of Newtown Creek’s waters for years and…felt no compunction to limit access based on information that they themselves collected.”
Whatever your opinion on relaxing in the contaminated waterways, they are just that. The fact that the Feds have allotted this space Superfund status spells a drawn out cleanup; the better part of a decade or longer.
One would hope that the Newtown Creek Alliance, the Feds, and local officials could put their heads together and figure out a way to get Newtown Creek up to code and cleaned up faster or open up access and kayak at your own risk.